It was reported in the UK yesterday that free iPads will be given out to thousands of care homes to help residents keep in touch with relatives under government plans to prevent another surge in coronavirus deaths.
Up to 11,000 tablets are being made available at a total cost of £7.5 million (US$9.66 million) amid fears the sector will be hit by a second wave of Covid-19 over the winter.
The giveaway was announced a week after the government’s Adult Social Care Winter Plan set out tighter controls for visits to residents. Care homes in local lockdown areas will have to restrict access to “exceptional circumstances” only, such as when a person is nearing the end of their life.
It comes after the government was heavily criticized for failing to protect care homes during the height of the pandemic six months ago. Thousands of hospital patients were discharged into homes without being tested for Covid-19 in an attempt to free up beds, while staff reported shortages of protective equipment.
The Department of Health and Social Care said the iPads would “stop the spread of the virus by reducing unnecessary visits while still allowing residents to connect with friends and family.” They will also allow staff to access patient records, reorder medication and hold virtual consultations with GPs and other medical professionals.
The government said iPads had been chosen because they are “the only tablet device that will enable care home staff to access their residents’ summary care records.” For more on this story, read the full UK Independent report.
This appears to be one of the biggest orders for iPads from a government program, as most initiatives are more local and self-funded like the story that surfaced back in March as shown below.